a Fathers Love "Beautiful Boy" Once there was a Father and son who were very close
and enjoyed adding valuable art pieces to their collection. Priceless works
by Picasso, Van Gogh, Monet and many others adorned the walls of the family
estate. The widowed, elder man looked on with satisfaction as his only
child became an experienced art collector. The son's trained eye and sharp
business mind caused his father to beam with pride as they dealt with art
collectors around the world. As winter approached, war engulfed the nation,
and the young man left to serve his country. After only a few short weeks,
his father received a telegram. His beloved son was missing in action.
The art collector anxiously awaited more news, fearing he would never see
his son again. Within days, his fears were confirmed. The young man had
died while rushing a fellow soldier to a medic. Distraught and lonely,
the old man faced the upcoming Christmas holidays with anguish and sadness.
The joy of the season, a season that he and his son had so looked forward
to, would visit his house no longer. On Christmas morning, a knock on the
door awakened the depressed old man. As he walked to the door, the masterpieces
of art on the walls only reminded him that his son was not coming home.
As he opened the door, he was greeted by a soldier with a large package
in his hand. He introduced himself to the man by saying, "I was a friend
of your son. I was the one he was rescuing when he died. May I come in
for a few moments? I have something to show you." As the two began to talk,
the soldier told of how the man's son had told everyone of his, not to
mention his father's, love of fine art. "I'm an artist," said the soldier,
"and I want to give you this." As the old man unwrapped the package, the
paper gave way to reveal a portrait of the man's son. Though the world
would never consider it the work of a genius, the painting featured the
young man's face in striking detail. Overcome with emotion, the man thanked
the soldier, promising to hang the picture above the fireplace. A few hours
later, after the soldier had departed, the old man set about his task.
True to his word, the painting went above the fireplace, pushing aside
thousands of dollars of paintings. And then the man sat in his chair and
spent Christmas gazing at the gift he had been given. During the days and
weeks that followed, the man realized that even though his son was no longer
with him, the boy's life would live on because of those he had touched.
He would soon learn that his son had rescued dozens of wounded soldiers
before a bullet stilled his caring heart. As the stories of his son's gallantry
continued to reach him, fatherly pride and satisfaction began to ease the
grief. The painting of his son soon became his most prized possession,
far eclipsing any interest in the pieces for which museums around the world
clamored. He told his neighbors it was the greatest gift he had ever received.
The following spring, the old man became ill and passed away. The art world
was in anticipation! Unmindful of the story of the man's only son, but
in his honor; those paintings would be sold at an auction. According to
the will of the old man, all of the art works would be auctioned on Christmas
day, the day he had received his greatest gift. The day soon arrived and
art collectors from around the world gathered to bid on some of the world's
most spectacular paintings. Dreams would be fulfilled this day; greatness
would be achieved as many would claim "I have the greatest collection."
The auction began with a painting that was not on any museum's list. It
was the painting of the man's son. The auctioneer asked for an opening
bid. The room was silent. "Who will open the bidding with $100?" he asked.
Minutes passed. No one spoke. From the back of the room came, "Who cares
about that painting? It's just a picture of his son. Let's forget it and
go on to the good stuff." More voices echoed in agreement. "No, we have
to sell this one first," replied the auctioneer. "Now, who will take the
son?" Finally, a friend of the old man spoke. "Will you take ten dollars
for the painting? That's all I have. I knew the boy, so I'd like to have
it. "I have ten dollars." "Will anyone go higher?" called the auctioneer.
After more silence, the auctioneer said, "Going once, going twice. Gone."
The gavel fell. Cheers filled the room and someone exclaimed, "Now we can
get on with it and we can bid on these treasures!" The auctioneer looked
at the audience and announced the auction was over. Stunned disbelief quieted
the room. Someone spoke up and asked, "What do you mean it's over? We didn't
come here for a picture of some old guy's son. What about all of these
paintings? There are millions of dollars of art here! I demand that you
explain what's going on here!" The auctioneer replied, "It's very simple.
According to the will of the father, whoever takes the son... gets it all."
Puts things into perspective, doesn't it? Just as those art collectors
discovered on that Christmas day, the message is still the same: the love
of a Father, a Father whose greatest joy came from his son, who went away
and gave his life rescuing others. And because of that Father's love, whoever
takes the Son gets it all.